THE STATE'S RELATIONS TO RELIGION. 453 ernment a theocracy, for a theocracy can exist both where reli- gion and the state are distinct and mutual checks, and where they are blended and fused together (comp. § 163). There was, in their system, no caste, properly so called, and no supe- riority of the priestly tribe. This, indeed,owing to its disper- sion through the land, could acquire no other predominance in state affairs than its intelligence and office of directing all religious services would give it. The judges seem to have been in part Levites or priests, and in part elders from the other tribes. The support of these ministers of religion came from Levitical towns and their suburbs, from tithes, and por- tions of victims offered in sacrifice. They were checked and balanced in their influence by the prophets—a body repre- senting the immediate, as opposed to the statutory will of God, and who might belong to any tribe of the people. As for the action of the civil power, as distinguished from the ec- clesiastical, in religious matters it was chiefly confined to the punishment of offences against religion as laid down in the Mosaic laws, such as idolatry, witchcraft, magic arts and blasphemy, to the general protection of religion and to volun- tary munificence, like that of David and Solomon in establish- ing the temple worship. Of special importance for binding the people together was the rite to which every male child was subjected, together with the obligation to partake in the three great annual festivals, and, In other ways, to acknowl- edge Jehovah. By these associating forces, by their mono- theistic religion with its universal ideas, by their history reaching back to Egypt and marking them out as the people of Jehovah, they kept up their national feeling amid and after many lapses. They deserve the name of a church—which is often given loosely where it has no fit application, as to Brah- mimsm, and even to the Chinese national religion.* And the combining principles of Judaism are so strong, especially the possession of such a book as the Old Testament with its universal ideas, that in their dispersion over the world, when *Thus Wuttke, in his Gesch. d. Heidenthums (part 2, § 113), uses this word.